The church we entered had been turned into a hospital and dedicated to Wounded Christ. The benches were brought together for the wounded to lie on. Many of them had sustained serious wounds and were without arms or legs. There was a lot of blood on the benches, while the heating was provided by a few small wood burning stoves. The only unoccupied space left was around the altar. There were monks from all Franciscan provinces there, who, after they changed, jointly said mass, thanking Christ for enabling us to endure. Christ was listened to by the seriously wounded and disabled, lying in their own blood, semi-conscious, uncertain of their future. He was listened to by the inhabitants of the Lašva valley, for whom the aid just received meant hope. He was listened to by truck drivers, journalists and other people from the Humanitarian Mission, who were still in a profound shock after their long-lasting journey through occupied Croatia. They had received a heartfelt welcome of every man and woman in Tomislavgrad and Rama, endured the macadam road that lead to and over Makljan, they had been kept waiting in apprehension in Rama, came under an attack in Gornji Vakuf and spent a night in the open air on Pavlovica. They had been searched and shot at, and finally arrived in Nova Bila to be welcomed by people with flags lining the street in front of the church, by children’s song and Croatian folk costumes. Inside the church they joined the wounded to hear Christ whose message was passed on to them from the altar by the monks who had accompanied them on that exhausting and miraculous journey of faith.

We were all standing there, attentive, laughing and crying, going down on our knees and getting up, singing and being quiet, until all images and sounds merged into one. I was able to sense the omnipresence of Wounded Christ who was accepting what we had achieved and inspiring us to continue with our journey of goodness.

Where to? Haven’t we arrived ? I can’t stand it any longer!

There is no end to that journey. Whoever thinks he has reached its end is, in fact, abandoning it. Have faith in Christ, provide help to the wounded and give hope to these people. You had made a promise to lend a helping hand to Wounded Christ in this hospital!

Fear no longer any weapon, threat, any crime or any human being. Here in Bosnia, in the midst of a terrible war, fear no longer anyone but God.

I knelt down in front of Christ and, alone with him, I began praying :

“Our Father..........

Forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us;

And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.”

I knew that Christ embraced this hospital and decided to help it, to help myself, to help us.

This conflict had to be ended so that we could truly help ourselves and tell the truth, to ourselves, to the world and to God. Every temptation was jeopardising the very survival of the Croatian people. At the same time, we had to maintain our dignity without being afraid to assert our identity. We would not have succeeded if it had not been for the miraculous help of the Wounded Christ.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit....”. I was one of them too, everything inside me was too weak and meaningless, poor and helpless. Nevertheless, if I was powerless in front of God, I was not in front of the enemy. Believing in God and my alliance with him, I felt empowered to resist anyone who tried to stop us.

I ended my prayer, went out of the church and joined the everyday life of the Advent in Nova Bila, in 1993.

On A Humanitarian Mission In Nova Bila (“ Bijeli Put “)